Governor DeSantis Signs Bill Raising Smoking, Vaping Age

Jackie Toledo

On Friday, Governor DeSantis signed a bill that will establish a regulatory framework for the sale of electronic cigarettes. The bill (SB 1080), which will take effect Oct. 1, will also raise the state’s legal age to vape and smoke tobacco to 21. In 2019, Congress passed legislation raising the federal age limit to 21.

House sponsor Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said during the debate over the bill that it is aimed at preventing minors from using electronic cigarettes.

“This bill is necessary to stop youth vaping,” Toledo said. “This legislation is a step in the right direction, demonstrating Florida’s commitment to work with regulators and stakeholders to combat underage use.”

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New Ballot Initiative Law Challenged in Federal Court

One day after Governor DeSantis signed a bill related to ballot initiatives, a federal lawsuit was filed on Saturday seeking to have the new law ruled invalid.

The new law limits individual contributions to groups promoting ballot initiatives to $3,000. The limit is in effect until the Florida Supreme Court approves the placement of an initiative on the ballot. In Florida, voters can change the constitution by getting proposals approved for the ballot and then receiving over 60-percent of support during an election.

Republicans who supported the legislation, argued it was needed to keep special interest money from influencing the initiatives that voters see on the ballot.

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Florida’s First Black Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Hatchett, Dies at 88

The Florida Supreme Court announced on Saturday that former Florida Supreme Court Justice Joseph W. Hatchett died in Tallahassee on Friday, April 30, 2021 at age 88.

Hatchett became the first African American to serve on Florida’s highest court when he was appointed by Governor Reubin Askew in 1975. Hatchett was Florida’s 65th Justice since statehood was granted in 1845.

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Florida Police Related Shooting Deaths Up 52 Percent in 2020

People rioting

In a year that saw a social justice movement, a pandemic, and an increase in violent crime, police relating shooting deaths in Florida in 2020 were up 51.5 % when compared to the previous five years. In contrast, police related shootings nationwide were up just 3.4%.

The numbers come from the Washington Post police related shooting database which began logging information in 2015. The data shows that from 2015 to 2019 Florida averaged approximately 61.4 police related shooting deaths per year. In 2020, there were 93 police related shooting deaths, a 51.5% increase.

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Florida Bill Allows Students Athletes to Profit Beginning in July

In the waning moments of the 2021 Florida legislative session, elected officials amended a bill (SB 1028) that will allow college and university athletes to profit from their names and images beginning July 1, 2021.

On Wednesday lawmakers added a provision that would have pushed back the effective date of the name, image and likeness law until 2022 due to concerns with the NCAA.

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Two Florida Cities Consider Guaranteed Income Policies

Lauren Poe

The guaranteed income movement – which advocates for providing cash to low-income families with no restrictions on how they can spend it – is coming to Florida.

This year the Gainesville City Commission voted to implement a guaranteed income pilot program slated to begin in October. Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe has been part of a national initiative, “Mayors for a Guaranteed Income,” to supply monthly, direct cash payments to people who are struggling. The Gainesville pilot program would begin by giving cash to people with criminal records and who are looking to rehabilitate their lives.

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Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Addresses Marijuana, DeSantis, and Democrats

Nikki Fried

  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried recently appeared on Facing South Florida, with Jim DeFede and responded to questions related to medical marijuana, Governor DeSantis and her political future. Provided below is a summary of the interview. Jim Defede: You ran on legalizing medicinal marijuana and you want to move…

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Nikki Fried’s Ties to the Cannabis Industry

Commissioner Nikki Fried

  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is a former marijuana lobbyist, has failed to address her financial ties to the marijuana industry as she advocates for legalization and uses her position to influence medical marijuana legislation. While legacy media looks the other way, other reporting has revealed connections that…

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